Ossa, F.O., El Albani, A., Hofmann, A., Bekker, A., Gauthier-Lafaye, F., Pambo, F., Meunier, A., Fontaine, C., Boulvais, P., Pierson-Wickmann, A.C., Cavalazzi, B., Macchiarelli, R.
Chemical Geology (2013) 362 (SI) 181-192 - doi : 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2013.08.011
Clay minerals are exceptionally well preserved in marine black shale of the ca. 2.1 Ga Francevillian Group in southeastern Gabon. The FB Formation of the Francevillian Group is characterized by smectite-rich clay minerals including randomly ordered (R0-type) and ordered (R1-type) mixed layer illite/smectite (I/S). The preservation of R0-type clay minerals suggests unexpectedly slow mineral transformation and a moderate degree of diagenesis, which is unique, considering the Paleoproterozoic age of the sedimentary rocks. R0- and R1-type, smectite-rich particles occur in stratigraphic intervals with high organic carbon content and are associated with carbonaceous filamentous structures, suggesting formation of clay-organic matter complexes. Our data suggests that clay minerals may have enhanced organic matter preservation, providing the oldest example where a link between clay minerals and organic matter sequestration can be established. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that clay minerals enhanced organic carbon burial and aided in atmospheric oxygen accumulation through time